Germany relegated; World Champions lose as brilliant Depay stuns France


Netherlands 2 : 0 France

France’s unbeaten run, which had lasted 15 games before tonight, came to a stuttering end in Rotterdam. A goal by Georginio Wijnaldum separated the sides, but on the night it was the brilliance of Lyon’s Memphis Depay that illuminated the De Kuip stadium. he also received his just desserts when he netted a stoppage time penalty.

The Oranje, who had lost just two of last 13, having won eight, move to six points in Group 1 with the French on seven. The result leaves Germany rooted on one point and destined to finish last in the group, as they cannot catch either side with just one game left

Didier Deschamp’s record of five wins out of five against the Netherlands came to a shuddering halt too, as did Hugo Lloris’ record of clean sheets against the Low Country opponent.

The domination lasted almost all 90 minutes and the game was just  90 seconds old before Hugo Lloris was called upon to deny Wijnaldum. The Dutch bossed the early possession but failed to create too many chances with 80% of the ball in the first 15 minutes. In France’s first attack though, Lucas Digne’s cross found Griezmann’s head but the header was weak. Depay and Ryan Babel controlled much of the possession and play for the orange shirted Dutch.

France had a rare effort but defender Benjamin Pavard fired over from a free kick.

Holland finally got the goal their efforts merited four minutes before half-time. A terrible header from Steven Nzonzi fell to Babel. His effort was excellently saved by Lloris’ legs but it rebounded to Wijnaldum who finished well. He had also scored against Germany earlier in the competition.


Depay gets the better of Griezmann
Photo: c/o Getty

Babel fired over in the second half’s first chance although a Pavard deflection gained a corner which came to nought. Digne, who was not selected for the World Cup squad that triumphed in Russia, was lucky to just see a yellow for a nasty lunge on Denzel Dumfries. The free kick begat a corner which Virgil van Dijk headed narrowly over.

The orange wave continued to swarm over les Bleus. Lloris needed to make a double save after a superb Daley Blind cross found the increasingly influential Dumfries.

Having seen 20 minutes of second half subjugation, Deschamps run the changes introducing Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé  for the quiet  – going on invisible –  Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi. France saw a lot of the ball thereafter but did little to interrupt Jasper Cillessen’s sleepy second half in the Dutch goal.

Pavard became the third Frenchmen to be booked by referee Anthony Taylor. Depay was just too good for him. Lloris however was equal to the former Manchester United winger’s subsequent driven free kick.

Wijnaldum was a little shocked to find himself onside moments later but fired over. Another warning for the lackadaisical French back line. The chances kept coming for the Dutch. Lloris defied the amazing Depay again on 74, the only Frenchman not to be totally outclassed by the 24 year-old midfielder and then made an even better save seconds later from the same player, who was showcasing his talents in the same city where he used to perform for Sparta Rotterdam’s youth team.

Without the dynamism of Paul Pogba, a lacklustre France had little to offer, and the Netherlands finished the game comfortably, possibly wondering why they had only defeated the World Champions 1-0. Lloris denied De Jong with another brilliant save in stoppage time.

He was perhaps right to be miffed when his club team mate Sissoko fouled De Jong to give the Dutch a late penalty. Depay converted it to make it 2-o for the superb Dutch.

The final match in the Group is on 19 November when Germany host Netherlands


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